The North Korean Foreign Ministry this week accused the US government of engaging in “extreme hostile acts” against Pyongyang after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that sanctions on 80% of North Korea’s economy are what brought Kim to the negotiating table.
“Our state is not a country that will surrender to the US sanctions, nor are we a country which the US could attack whenever it desires to do so,” said the ministry in a statement. The statement accused Pompeo of slander but referred to Donald Trump as “supreme leader.”
Hours after the rebuke, South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggested the possibility of a third summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“There’s no reason to regard the current situation as a stalemate in the peace process on the peninsula just because the pace has remained slow,” said Moon. “Complete denuclearization and a permanent peace regime on the peninsula are tasks that cannot be achieved overnight.”
Trump and Kim met for the first time in Singapore last summer, signing a historic treaty we expected would lead to negotiations about denuclearization and sanctions relief. The second summit, held in Vietnam in February, broke down when Trump rejected Kim’s demand for sanctions relief in exchange for the dismantling of Pyongyang’s main nuclear complex.
Despite the setback, both leaders have described their personal relationship as good. Last week, the White House confirmed the two had been exchanging private letters.
“It’s noteworthy that behind-the-scenes talks have been preceded by the mutual understanding of each other’s position gained through the Hanoi summit,” said Moon.
President Trump will visit South Korea next week to speak with Moon after attending a G20 summit in Japan. He is considering a trip to heavily defended DMZ that divides the Korean peninsula.